Including Limitations in News Coverage of Cancer Research: Effects of News Hedging on Fatalism, Medical Skepticism, Patient Trust, and Backlash
Source: Journal of Health Communication, Volume 16, Number 5, May 2011 , pp. 486-503(18)
Publisher: Taylor and Francis Ltd
Abstract:Past research has demonstrated that news coverage of cancer research, and scientific research generally, rarely contains discourse-based hedging, including caveats, limitations, and uncertainties. In a multiple message experiment (k = 4 news stories, N = 1082), the authors examined whether hedging shaped the perceptions of news consumers. The results revealed that participants were significantly less fatalistic about cancer (p = .039) and marginally less prone to nutritional backlash (p = .056) after exposure to hedged articles. Participants exposed to articles mentioning a second researcher (unaffiliated with the present study) exhibited greater trust in medical professions (p = .001). The findings provide additional support for the inclusion of discourse-based hedging in cancer news coverage and suggest that news consumers will use scientific uncertainty in illness representations.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: 1: Department of Communication, and Oncological Sciences Center, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, USA 2: Department of Communication, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, USA
Publication date: May 2011